Not long after my last post about selling design services I saw an announcement from my old company Sentec – they have produced a reference design for a compact home monitor, just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This has become MicroMonitor http://www.sentec.co.uk/news-and-events/news-archive/Sentec-launches-MicroMonitor-sensing-technology-platform-for-smart-homes.
MicroMonitor is a very cute approach to communicating the abilities of a company. It’s a reference design or platform, not a product – you’re not likely to be able to buy one, but what a fabulous way to demonstrate the meaning of design services and intellectual property. Showing this to a customer, and more impressively showing it working is infinitely more convincing than any number of Powerpoint slides, however passionately presented. Whether at a trade show or a sales presentation, when they see something like this customers will instantly understand what you can do for them – and they will believe that you have the ability to deliver it. Most people find it much easier to relate to a thing than to an idea. This is a great example of engineering and marketing working together.
And the results? After writing the above I got some feedback from my friends at Sentec on the outcome of taking these little devices to CES. I was really pleased to hear that the experience did indeed support my argument – it was ‘a huge success’ and ‘generated a huge amount of leads’. Many of the leads were for consultancy not directly related to the devices themselves but ‘because it was a TANGIBLE showcase of our skills, not just PowerPoint engineering!!’ Great results, but don’t forget it’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, and to get a real pay-back there’s a lot more work yet to come.
I am very happy that I played a very small part in the development of this little device, exactly a year ago, while walking the floor at CES 2012. We were trying to sell Sentec’s intellectual property and product design services in power measurement. Talking to potential customers and taking inspiration from some of the exhibitors’ products an idea began to gel, and we had sketches for the concept. Well done to the guys for going all the way, and developing the marketing backup to go with it.